Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Farm Records

This is the time of year many are working on farm records and making business decisions. Good financial records allow for more informed decision making. Financial records begin with farm records and accounting information. There are many types of farm records with various features. MU Extension has a website with several choices.

If you are considering making a change in accounting systems or researching the best fit for your needs, it is important to consider how you plan to use the records. Each accounting system has features and limitations and of course a price tag.

County Extension offices have paper copies of the Missouri Farm Business Record Book, developed by University Extension and Ag Education. It contains receipts, expenditures, summary, and enterprise forms needed for one year of records. Refill pages are available and can be printed from the above website.

Computer software programs are another choice. There are basically two types of programs: 1) programs designed specifically for farm accounting and 2) generic programs designed for accounting.

Farm accounting packages
The website above lists a package called PC Mars. The company that created it is located in Iowa and the software is available through the Iowa Farm Business Center. A few features include inventory tracking, livestock and crop production data and enterprise allocations.

Other popular farm accounting software not listed on that webpage includes AgCHECK, AgManager, AgMIS, Easy Farm, Farm Biz and FarmWorks. These are some of the more popular packages, but it is not inclusive. A web search can find the company sites for these accounting packages. Many of the packages may have free demo programs, so potential buyers can try the software before purchasing.

Generic accounting packages
The website above lists a couple of popular software packages. The website mentions tools that can help customize these packages to make them easier to use for farm accounting.

There are several choices in accounting systems, so it may be helpful to make a list of the items you want in a package before you begin searching. It is important to choose a system that makes the task of entering records user-friendly to facilitate keeping your records current. Farm accounting is an important foundation of your farm business, so time spent researching accounting software can be very beneficial.
(by: Mary Sobba, MU Extension Ag Business Specialist)

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